Bryce Harper will be the crown jewel of a pitching-rich 2010 draft
Before the 2009 draft was even over,
Like this year, when 11 of the first 15 players selected were pitchers, the strength of next year's class appears to be on the mound. Over the past 20 years there have been just four drafts where 10 or more pitchers were taken within the first 15 picks, and the 2010 draft could mark the first time that it has happened in back-to-back years.
"I think there's some right-handed pitching," a National League scouting director said. "There are some guys there that have the chance to be big-time arms. [
But most of the top pitchers, especially on the prep side, are right-handers. "I don't see any left-handed pitching," the scouting director said. "Last year there were three [high school left-handers] taken in the top 18, and I just haven't seen that this year. It's probably never really a strength of the draft, but I think it's one of the weaker left-handed years."
The consensus is that the high school class is stronger than the college crop. "I'm just not that excited about the college class in any direction," the scouting director says. "I think there's some college arms, but the college bats are a little bit down from what I've seen. I didn't think the Cape [Cod League] had a lot of real strong bat guys. There were some power arms, but more bullpen guys than starter guys, and not a lot of athletic position players."
Last year the spotlight was on San Diego State right-hander
Harper, a catcher from Las Vegas, was the first-ever sophomore to win
With nothing left to prove in high school, Harper opted to forego his junior and senior seasons at Las Vegas High by enrolling at CC of Southern Nevada, where he's scheduled to play next season once he passes his GED test.
Playing college ball as a 17-year-old will be a challenge, but Harper will have a strong support system in place. He will be able to live at home, and his brother
The 2010 draft is still nine months away and many things can (and will) change between now and then, but the charts below provide the first snapshot of the top talent for next year's class.